Socialism 101 Refresher

If you want to know whether Bernie Sanders's plans are good, ask those in Vietnam.

Roger Helle · Feb. 28, 2020

It was 31 years ago I found myself sitting with a hero of the Communist Revolution in Vietnam. She was also one of the founders of the National Liberation Front (NLF), a.k.a. the Viet Cong — the insurgency in South Vietnam. Her story was shocking and a reminder to all how socialism always produces more than promised. Just not for good.

A medical doctor, she was in charge of the largest pediatric hospital in Saigon. She and her husband were politically connected and knew our ambassador as well as Gen. William Westmoreland. But they were communist. When the Tet Offensive was launched in 1969, their identity became known. While the offensive was a failure, our media gave the communists a media victory. Their cover blown, they fled to the jungle.

In 1975, after our politicians abandoned South Vietnam, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) overran the country, “liberating” the people of the South. The victory was glorious … until it wasn’t. Former soldiers, politicians, and wealthy businessmen were rounded up and sent to “re-education camps.” Hundreds of thousands died in those labor camps. It was horrific, but Cambodia was worse. Possibly two million may have died under the regime of Pol Pot.

As our new friend told us her story, it included being sent to prison! Why would a hero of the revolution be sent to prison? After the communists took over, the result was not what they were told would happen. They fought for unification of their country, but they obtained a brutal dictatorial regime. When she spoke out about the victors abusing their power, plundering their vanquished foes for their own benefit, she was sent to prison.

The public outcry over her imprisonment resulted in her release sooner than most political prisoners. But not before her health was destroyed — she never fully recovered and died early of heart problems developed in prison. She was not the only one I met. I would meet and befriend a number of former Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers who were imprisoned for speaking out on the abuse of power by NVA leaders.

We’ve all heard it before: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely!” This is the history of socialism. What’s the difference between socialism and communism? About 10 years.

Bernie Sanders, who honeymooned in the former Soviet Union with his current wife, praised Hugo Chavez, who destroyed one of the most prosperous countries in South America. Bernie thought Fidel Castro was a great leader. Bernie could have corrected this but on “60 Minutes” this past week he praised Fidel’s literacy program. I guess that cancels out his imprisoning more people per capita than any other dictator.

Bernie is successful because he stirs up greed, envy, and entitlement in young people. “Others have more than you and that’s not right!” How do you do that? It’s easier when a generation has never been taught what’s good in America. We are evil and racist and others have more than you, so that’s not right. Bernie, a millionaire, owns three homes and has never held a regular job in his life — he has lived off of taxpayers. Greed and envy of others seems to be working. But be careful of what you wish for. Ask the people of any communist country who will never know the Liberty we have in America.

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